TRENTON – Senators Steve Sweeney and Fred H. Madden today said that they are encouraged by a State Parole Board assessment of a program which uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to allow local law enforcement to monitor the locations of New Jersey?s 225 most dangerous sexual predators. Parole Board Chairman Peter J. Barnes released the report today, highlighting the Board?s findings, at an event held at the State House.
“The GPS program is about helping to protect New Jersey’s children,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “I’m glad to see that the initial report is encouraging. According to the Parole Board’s report, only one of the 225 sex offenders in this program has been implicated in a new sex crime. My goal now is to make sure that those responsible for implementing the program are able to prevent all of the offenders from figuring out how to elude surveillance. While 1 out of 225 is not a large number, the goal of the program is to prevent all of these predators from re-offending. Today’s report suggests the program has the potential to provide long-term help in preventing the sexual victimization of children.”
“As a father and a grandfather, I fully understand the importance of the safety of our children. As the former Acting Superintendent of State Police, I understand that there are sick people out there, looking to harm our children, and in doing so, increase the potential for lifelong psychological and physical damages,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “Our GPS monitoring act provides an extra layer of protection by giving local law enforcement the authority to monitor the State?s most dangerous sexual predators. According to the report, the GPS tracking helped local Sussex County law enforcement track down an offender who was staying at a home where an infant also lives. The program appears to be working, and I am proud to have been the sponsor of the legislation that created it. By working together, we can all help to keep our children safe from dangerous predators.”
Senators Sweeney and Madden sponsored the “Sex Offender Monitoring Act” which was signed into law in August of 2005. The two-year pilot program was designed to use GPS technology to allow law enforcement to monitor the whereabouts of high-risk sex offenders. In June of this year another Sweeney-Madden sponsored bill, S-484, which makes the “Sex Offender Monitoring Act” a permanent program, became law. The GPS technology provides time-correlated, continuous tracking of the offenders’ geographical location, as well as an automated system to permit law enforcement agencies to compare the geographic positions of monitored subjects with reported incidents of crime.
In the report, the Parole Board called the ongoing GPS monitoring of the State’s highest-risk sex offenders “an essential tool,” and noted that the ability of law enforcement to compare offenders’ whereabouts with new incidents of crime an “invaluable resource for investigations.”
The Senators said that they will continue to monitor the GPS program to ensure its continued effectiveness.